Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Queen of Chaos

What’s your vision for today? For tomorrow? Where do you want to be a year from now? Ten years down the road?

If you’re like me, it’s hard to plan ahead. Some days I can barely think five minutes ahead, yet I know people who live orderly lives. Their future is mapped out and they surround themselves with organization.

I do not do order. I do chaos. On good days, I do controlled chaos. I admire order, but that’s as far as it goes. Perhaps I was the queen of chaos in a former life.

Ever read The Spyglass by Richard Paul Evans? It’s one of my favorites, but not because of the dialogue or the illustrations. I love the magical story. I love it because it inspires me and moves me away from the ordinary. I love it because it helps me see things not as they are, but as they could be.

In The Spyglass, the king of a struggling kingdom is visited by a mysterious stranger who offers an unusual gift in exchange for supper and a bed for the night. The curious king agrees to his bargain.

The gift turns out to be a spyglass which lets you see things not as they are, but as they could be. The stranger leaves his spyglass with the king for two harvests.

For two years the king visits his people and shows them what could be, through the lens of possibility. He invites them to create change.

When the stranger returns to retrieve his spyglass he finds a prosperous and happy kingdom instead of the miserable kingdom he once visited. Not wanting to lose such a treasure, the king offers the stranger much gold in exchange for the spyglass.

The stranger has one more lesson to teach. He explains that the king no longer needs the spyglass to show him possibilities, for now the king has vision. He and his people understand possibilities.

Like the mysterious stranger, I believe in possibilities. I believe in change. I believe in people and their ability to create change.

In my writing, in my life, in my world, show me possibilities, and then I can do anything. I may be the queen of chaos, but I can make a difference. I can create change.

Join me. Let’s share our vision. Together, we can make a difference. Believe. Create.

Linda Garner

Thursday, February 18, 2010

LTUE Update (kind of)

Last week I spend all of Friday/Saturday at the LTUE conference. And can I say…Excellent!

I watched panels on A guy’s view of romance (which I was late to, but made it there for the end), Zombies (freaked me out a little, but shouldn’t zombies freak one out?) and blogging- the whys and hows (But look at me, I’m already blogging – so I feel pretty good about that one). Plus an excellent class on plot. I took tons of notes (plus it really helped with my WIP – Thanks DW).

I saw guy who can’t remember my name, very smart guy with firm handshake, girl with awesome hair, some guy with really white hair (a little scary really), guy who gave an excellent speech (keep making fun of guy who can’t remember my name), girl with awesome cast (I hope your ankle is doing better), guy who thinks I look like I came out of the cast of StarTrek (is that a good thing?), and many other authors*…Oh, plus they recorded two podcasts of Writing Excuses (check them out, very helpful). *Names have been changed to protect the innocent (but you can find them all here – sorry I have a headache and feeling a little ill today so I didn't get to far into the name writing, but you are all great, and you all know who you are :) ).

Besides the excellent classes, I think the best thing was connecting with the other writers. There is something special about writers. We are an odd bunch, but put us together, and we are home.

Thanks for the great weekend LTUE. See ya next year! Can you bring that excellent salad again next year? Alright! Thanks.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

When was the last time You were part of a Miracle?

I love miracles, don’t you? I was part of an unexpected miracle last Thursday. Lisa and I met with the board at Sugarhouse Park to get the No More Secrets Walk approved. Lisa is the woman who created the vision of A Healing Place, the monument to children which we hope to build in the heart of Salt Lake City.

The No More Secrets Walk is a family friendly walk designed to create awareness about child abuse and to encourage families to protect and nurture kids. This is also an event where we can introduce the plans for the monument and begin to build support and excitement for A Healing Place. We plan to hold this walk on April 17 in Sugarhouse Park. April is the perfect time, because it is Child Abuse Prevention month.

Since we are beginners at this kind of thing, we didn’t know what to expect. I filled out the paperwork and got us a spot on the agenda for the board meeting. We were glad that we were not first, so that we could see the process in action before we were in the spotlight. We watched others with similar events get effortlessly approved. This didn’t look hard.

Surprisingly, when it was our turn, we met with instant disapproval. Not a single board member voiced anything positive about our walk to prevent child abuse. How could this be?

I’m sure their disapproval was not related to our cause. They seemed mostly concerned about us not having non-profit status. Without a non-profit organization backing us, would be able to get sponsors and insurance? Without a non-profit organization, could they be sure we weren’t just going to pocket the money?

Pocket the money? What money? We aren’t entirely sure there will be enough money to cover expenses, let alone something to pocket. If we do come out ahead we will begin a fund for the monument. That would be thrilling.

Without non-profit status, they would have to treat our walk as a commercial venture. They would have to charge us more. Commercial? Are you kidding me?

Another issue was that we are charging a small registration fee to participate in the walk. The charge will cover the cost of the t-shirts, and not much more. $5.00 for children, $10.00 for adults, or $25.00 for a family. In addition to t-shirts we hope to provide water, hot dogs, cotton candy, prizes, and entertainment. We can only do this if we get some great sponsor participation.

After all this negative talk, we couldn’t imagine a way to turn things around, but a miracle happened. One board member had a sudden unexplained change of heart and moved to approve our walk. I don’t know what changed his mind. Maybe he just wanted to keep the meeting moving. He asked for a second to his motion. Dead silence. The silence was uncomfortable and stretched on for what felt like a long time. Finally a second board member reluctantly moved to second the motion. The final vote was four to five, and our walk was approved. A miracle.

Lisa and I floated out of the meeting wondering what had just happened.

Will you be part of our miracle?

Will you walk with us on April 17? Will you volunteer to help us organize the walk? Do you know organizations that can sponsor us? Will you help us advertise? Can you help us find a non-profit organization that will let us use their name and status?

A meeting for volunteers will be held this Thursday evening (Feb 18) at 7:00. We could use your help. Call me at 801-571-6699 or email garners@xmission.com for meeting details.

When was the last time you were part of a miracle?

Linda Garner

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Oh Where are You Sharpened Pencil?

"Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say." ~Sharon O'Brien

This weekend, it will be quiet for some of us here. It is conference time again (hooray!) LTUE (Life, the Universe & Everything: The Marion K. ‘Doc’ Smith Symposiums) a free conference offered by the amazing people of BYU. Because of this, I am reposting a post from last years conference week.

So, Let it Begin

Today, an abundance of people (including myself) shall be at our first writer’s conference of the year. Am I excited? Oh, so much! I have been packing my backpack for weeks with the essential must haves:

MnMs (because I have a noisy stomach and really, no one wants to be startled by that thing!)
Pencils (even a pen, because I have broken a pencil a time or two and writing with plain wood just doesn’t work well. I did try to chew off the wood, but I had wood shavings stuck in my teeth for a week!)
Paper (To write on… and make spit wads to launch at people who are making me jealous). (j/k I would never do that, and that incident in New York last year - Not me.)
Tissue (For crying into because I’m still revising my book and want to show it off)
Crackers (Please see MnM’s above).
Notebook (At the conference last year I brought home piles and piles of notes! I expect the same today).
Deodorant (this one is pretty self explanatory).
Couple of chocolate bars (because chocolate is the magical food made by tiny magical creatures from a magical land *sigh * and it’s so, so good!)
A little extra coinage (for silly things like, food, bottled water, gas – stuff like that).
Antacid (There is a funny story behind this, I promise, but just not enough time to disclose. So sorry, and if you’ve heard the story * head hung low * you have my deepest sympathies).

So there you have it! My list of stuff that I am at this very moment dragging through the halls with other devoted writers, breathing in the fumes of excitement and hope. If you see me, feel free to ask for a handful of MnM’s, hopefully I haven’t eaten them all yet, but it is very possible that I still have a few good sheets of paper left for spit wads.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Together, We Can Make a Difference

Today is a happy day for me. With the help of friends and family, I have put together a press kit to send to school administrators to help them feel comfortable about inviting me to their schools. I have a great presentation for kids of all ages, but administrators freeze up when they hear the words, “sexual abuse”. They are very reluctant to open that can of worms.

My presentation is not scary. It is not graphic. It is non-threatening. I have age-appropriate material for every age group. Children need this information. Teenagers need this. Everyone needs this.

We owe our children correct information. We owe them the right to feel safe, the right to tell, and the right to get help. When we guard this information we close those opportunities to them. We put them at risk. Knowledge is power. When we choose to teach correct principals we empower children to take control of their own bodies. We give them a voice.

As parents and teachers, as guardians of the community, we can turn the other way, as people have been doing for decades, or we can take a stand. We can stand up for decency. We can stand up for kids.

I recently presented this material to a group of juniors and seniors in Wood River High School. This was a small group of kids who were serving in internships to become teachers and daycare providers. They were keenly interested in this material and sent me heart warming letters.

If you would like me to come to your school, email me: lindagarner@somesecretshurt.com. I will gladly send you the press kit as an attachment which you can then forward to your school principal. Even better, you can print it and take it to your school principal in person.

Together, we can make a difference.

Linda Garner

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Talking to Myself Again

“Will you please just get out of that hole?” Looking down in the pit of darkness.

“But I can’t! I’ve dug down way too far and I forgot a ladder.” Voice echoing through hole.

Great big sigh. “You didn’t even tie down a ladder when you started?”

“I was just having so much fun, I just kept digging and digging. Now I’m stuck here forever.” Whimper. “All there is down here are dirt, rocks and worms. And I’m so hungry.”

“Let me think for a minute.” Putting hand on chin, looking up in thought.

Small little voice from hole echoing up to the sky.“I’ll have to make myself a dirt-worm sandwich just to survive.”

“I’ve got it!” Snapping fingers. “I should have one of these in my purse. Just hold on.” Unzipping purse, rummaging through.

“Is it bread to go with my worm sandwich? It would be so less crunchy on my teeth.”

“No. It’s …” pulling long stick with black writing on it out of said purse, “the Revision Process.”

Loud echo-ie gasp from deep dark hole. “You have a Revision Process with you?”

“Yes I do.” Grin forming on teeth, sun glinting off front tooth on the right.

“I’m saved! No more worm sandwiches for me!”

“Here catch this.” Throwing stick into dark abyss. “With the Revision Process you will be out of the muck in no time.”

“You’re my hero Revision Process.”

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Where Will My Words Take Me Today?

What is there about words that pulls me from bed before daylight and draws me to my computer? Before the sun paints the sky, I am awake with thoughts and ideas tickling my brain. I can hardly wait to try them out.

This is magic time, because the phone doesn’t ring, and no one knocks. The world is asleep and I can spin words to my hearts content. We are alone, my words and I.

For those who love to play with words, it doesn’t matter what we’re writing. It can be a poem or story. It can be a letter to a friend. It can be an article or essay. We love to write the truth and we love to write the imaginary.

We dabble in the rules. We learn a few. We break more. We study structure. We create our own. We try things out. We take our words apart and look at them inside out and backwards. We wonder. We wish. We question. We figure out what works.

We love our words. We bond with them. We rearrange them. We nurture them. Sometimes we have to give up some of our favorites, and it hurts a little, but there are always more. There are always more words to love.

Words can comfort, soothe, inspire, motivate, teach, inform. Words can make us angry. They can help us love, trust, remember. Words can excite us, or calm us. Words can change us. They change us as we read them. They change us as we write them.

Words can take us someplace we’ve never been. They can take us to distant lands. They can take us to other worlds. They can take us to another climate, another season, another time. They can take us into another’s heart. They let us see through other eyes. They can take us inside ourselves.

Where will my words take me today? Perhaps I’ll see you there, my friend.

Linda Garner